From a very young age, I have had a passion for reading and it was such a pleasure as a child to spend time living different lives through fictional characters and novels and to learn and discover new things. We used to have a 'bibliobus' (a little van that had been turned into a library) set up by the city council and it was once a week on the car park in front of the school. What a pleasure it was to get all these books for free, even if just temporarily, to immerse myself in different worlds. These books contained so much information and some made me dream of a different life, full of adventures and travels. As a kid, I would have loved to work as a librarian and I set up a mini library in one of my cupboards. Things have slowly changed and I would much prefer to see myself as a writer now but my passion for books has remained intact throughout the years.
I do not read so much these days due to lack of time and the fact that I read very slowly but, little by little, I am hoping to go through my library that keeps on growing everyday.
Lately, I have found a few books that have particularly resonated with me. I think they would be ideal little gifts for women who love France or reading in French.
The first one is 'French Milk' by Lucy Knisley.
It is a comic strip in English documenting the 6 weeks spent in France by the author (She is a young American cartoonist) and her mother. It includes some pictures and musings on everyday life in Paris. It is at times very funny, light and innocent and her love for French food is really infectious. Everything she writes in French is slightly inaccurate but the story is well drawn and documented from a young American perspective and most of all it feels genuine.
The second one is also in English: 'How to be Parisian Wherever You Are' by Caroline de Maigret, Anne Berest, Sophie Was and Audrey Diwan.
It is a well observed collection of ideas, quotes and beautiful pictures about being Parisian. I found it interesting to read that you do not have to be French to be Parisian and that arrogance is part of the Parisian lifestyle. There is a chapter about cheating that some (like my husband) will find shocking but it should not be taken seriously as it is more tongue in cheek than dead serious.
The final one for now is 'Les Femmes Qui Lisent Sont Dangereuses'* by Laure Adler and Stefan Bollman.
My husband got it for me in the 'boutique' of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille and it is a truly beautiful book in French combining art works with explanations around the idea that women who read get back the control of their lives and ideas. It is easy to forget that in the past, women could not access proper education and could not read what they wanted. It feels a lot has been achieved by women since but it sometimes feels that so much still needs to be done.
Et voilà!** These are just a few recommendations and of course it would be much better for you to go to a French bookshop or library to find the books that resonate with you and match your tastes and styles. I am sure you could also find so much online.
*'Women Who Read Are Dangerous'
***Have a good read!